Greenkeeper's Update - January 2017

November- January Barnes Green report

The last few months has seen lots of improvement works carried out on Barnes Green by LBRuT council, especially around the north side of the pond. These works have been driven by safety, access, and usability issues with a focus on disabled access and creating a more dementia friendly environment. If you have not witnessed the changes there have been new paths installed with new benches and the hard standing areas by the pond have been redesigned to remove trip hazards and increase its longevity. There has been new fencing installed  around a third of the pond’s perimeter to protect flora and fauna and the edges of the pond have all been underpinned, whilst old benches have been replaced with new. The south side of the pond will be getting the same treatment this spring with notable features being added such as disabled access to the water’s edge, picnic benches outside OSO Café and a new larger planter to replace the round concrete one near the pond. Bare soil will then be sown with grass seed once the work is completed.

Council contractors also carried out drainage work on the main events field which flooded last year. The Crescent hedge has also had a hard cut and one area of it is due to be replanted.

Winter is the time for planting and pruning and I have been busy coppicing or pollarding a third of the pond’s willows as well as cutting and clearing about a quarter of the marginal vegetation around the perimeter and on the island. This allows light in and opportunities for plants that may otherwise be crowded out by reed, sedge, and willows. The duck shelters on the island received some maintenance and indeed one has already been used this January by the Egyptian Geese who had four goslings. Sadly the cold weather and frozen pond was too much for them and none have survived. They will likely lay another clutch in spring. Meanwhile the swans all appear to be in good health and the three cygnets have nearly lost all their brown plumage.

In November at least 20 volunteers helped plant 4000 daffodils and crocus around the outer edge of the Green particularly up near Laurel Road and the Brook. One of these areas is also to be over-sown with a poppy heavy wildflower mix. Some of the other wildflower patches will also be re-sown with a more general wildflower mix whilst some areas will be kept as they are to preserve established plants of interest. In fact, the first flowers of the year can be seen in the wildflower patches with some snowdrops coming through and one or two aconites as well as a lone giant scabious flower.

Russell Greaves, Barnes Greenkeeper

Green-KeeperSarah Sumpter